Initiative aims to address the gender inequalities of COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 8 2021, 7:35 pm

Job loss due to COVID-19 has affected millions of Canadians — women disproportionately so.

Female employees became unemployed at a rate of 60% higher than men at the onset of the pandemic according to the Unmasking Gender Inequity study published by the BC Women’s Health Foundation.

As primary caregivers at home, women 25-55 lost up to six times more work hours than their male counterparts — leading to more anxiety, depression and burnout. While the pandemic may not be over, a new initiative is aiming to reverse this social issue.

To commemorate International Women’s Day 2021, Coast Capital Savings is launching their ‘Let’s Keep Her On The Map’ campaign aimed at supporting and elevating women in the workforce. Female-owned businesses are at the forefront of the credit union’s movement as they are offering a number of curated resources for entrepreneurs who have been impacted.

They’re also asking you to support women-lead companies when you can.

That means shopping, working out, and ordering takeout from local women-owned boutiques, restaurants, gyms and more to stop the financial impacts on these small businesses.

Luna Collective owner Eryn Beattie is seen in her Victoria, BC shop which retails a curated collection of handmade and vintage goods. Eryn appears in the ‘Keep Her On The Map’ campaign. (Credit: Kim Jay)

“It isn’t so much that gender inequality still exists. We are all aware that we are still very much on a journey to address the systemic reasons behind the inequality,” Dr. Marina Adshade, who is an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, says.

“However, what is alarming is that these systemic issues have again been exacerbated by the pandemic, setting back much of the momentum women have gained to this point…we can each do our part on a consumer level to effect change,” she urged, describing the BC Women’s Health Foundations’ study as “sobering.”

UBC economics professor Dr. Marina Adshade.

Women of colour — who have historically encountered more barriers in the workplace — are being impacted further due to COVID, according to McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace 2020 study.

Their research found that the alarming amount of job loss could also set back years of progress when it comes to gender equity and board room seats.

“As a social purpose company and Certified B Corporation, we’re firmly committed to using our business as a force for good and that includes keeping women in the workforce and the businesses they own on the map,” Larkin MacKenzie-Ast, Chair of Coast Capital’s Business Women’s Network, said.

“Whether it be…sharing information on women-owned businesses or using your purchasing power to support more women-owned businesses, we are asking people to actively and intentionally help bolster and support women in our communities. Because when the women in our communities are healthy and thriving, we are all better for it,” she said.

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